Curtis Penix, from Michigan, returns to hike the Kentucky portion of the original Boone Trace from Fort Boonesborough, near Winchester, through the Cumberland Gap to Martins Station, located in Lee County, Virginia, from April 2 through April 10. He and hiking partner Givan Fox spent 16 days hiking the Trace from Kingsport, Tennessee in March 2015.
The hike will move into Bell County early on April 9 when Penix will pass through the Cumberland Gap. The hike will coincide with the ‘An American Memoir’ centennial celebration event at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and will conclude at Wilderness Road State Park in Ewing, Virginia on April 10. At WRSP, Penix will be delivering a medallion at Martin’s Station which he will have carried throughout his hike.
Penix’s fifth-great grandfather, Joshua Penix, came with Daniel Boone along Boone Trace in 1779 and it has been Penix’s wish to continue to walk in the steps of his great grandfather. To continue the story of more than 300,000 settlers that passed through the Cumberland Gap, Penix will be burning a candle at his nightly campsite. This will also help to symbolize the importance of Keeping the Trace Alive — the theme for the 2016 thru-hike.
The Boone Trace has never been “hiked” north to south in modern times and this hike will be again somewhat of a research expedition. Daily blogs and a schedule of his camp sites will be posted on his web site www.lostinthewander.com. A map with a GPS locator showing his position in real time as the hike progresses will also be available to view on the website.
Boone Trace was opened by Daniel Boone and his trailblazing party during March and April 1775 and was the first road, EVER, into the land that was to become Kentucky. It is of enormous historical significance to the founding of Kentucky, but also the opening of the entire west. It is also frequently confused with the Wilderness Road which evolved out of Boone Trace later in 1796.
Penix is a member of the Friends of Boone Trace, Inc. whose mission is to support the hike and save the remnants of Boone Trace while elevating awareness of its historical importance. Avid hikers that would be interested in preserving a part of history are invited to join the Keepers of Boone Trace. Members will adopt portions of the Trace and help maintain and preserve it for another 200 years. Any interested hikers can contact Penix through his web site or Friends of Boone Trace online at www.boonetrace1775.com.